horror camps of Buchenwald and Belsen as to how far a totalitarian
uncontrolled regime was able to go in its cruelty, but they did not wish
to realise that none of these parliamentary men would have been allowed
to visit Poland and relate how N.K.VJX had transformed that country
into one vast prison camp. The speakers in the Debate found it easy
to assert their opinion that since Poland was to be ' free and independent'
she would not have to bear the burden of the totalitarian Russian rule.
At that time, however, when the Big Three were in the act of signing the
Declaration in Yalta and when some of the Honourable Members of
Parliament in Westminster, following the lead of their Prime Minister,
were expressing their conviction that a new democratic government
would arise in Poland, the agents of the N.K.V.D. were shooting the
population of the Polish towns and villages, just as the Gestapo had been
shooting them a few weeks earlier, and under the same accusation—as
English spies and collaborators. The Polish press in Britain and the
United States gave an almost daily report of the numbers of these victims
and the localities—but it was only the Polish press.
This time the Soviet Embassy considered Russia's position to be so
sure that they made no attempt to silence these voices. One report,
did however, manage to pierce the artificial crust of indifference amongst
the British. The news was given during the Debate that the wife of the
Polish Prime Minister, Mme. Arciszewska, sixty years of age, working
in the Red Cross in Warsaw had been arbitrarily taken under arrest by the
Soviet police. The bitter icy eastern wind of reality lifted the drop-
curtain for one moment and England caught a glimpse of the enormous
difficulty of co-operation between Russia and the Western World. . . ,
An embarrassed British Government promptly intervened in Moscow,
and shortly afterwards the Soviets released the arrested woman.
The incident of the arrest itself, the grounds on which Moscow acceded
to London's request, and the silence of the British press over the most
significant aspect of the case could not contribute towards convincing
the sceptics of the dawn of a new era in Russo-Polish relations. The
incident confirmed two things : firstly that the Soviet Government did
not recognise any principle of legality and secondly, that the * Lublin
Committee * was immediately executing orders emanating from Moscow.
It was difficult to find hi this affair any trace of esteem for the principle
of democracy which Moscow and Lublin professed to champion. In any
case, Madame Arciszewska even then was not a free agent for she was
ordered to report daily to the police station.
The panic sown among wealthy and poor alike by the Soviets in the
Middle Zone was to become an obsession in Germany and its waves
were to reach the shores of the British Isles. Every Member of Parliament
fully understood what Churchill found it impossible to state publicly—